One of the reasons I love Dubai is the fact it is a true melting pot of so many of the world’s nationalities. My children’s school is home to 40+ nationalities during the academic year; they have friends from all over the globe. This makes for a very enriching and colourful experience for them, and raises many questions DH and I might otherwise not think about discussing. A recent example was a car conversation between DH and the kids (seems all my funny stories take place in the car!) during half term.
‘Daddy, what’s the difference between Christians, Muslims and Hindus?’ asked DD as the representative of the 3 munchkins who had been discussing religion amongst themselves in the back of the car.
DH tried to give a basic explanation of the differences they might understand, focusing mainly on what they are not permitted to eat or drink.
‘So, Muslims can’t drink alcohol?’ asked DS1 sounding almost surprised that a religion would prohibit anything.
‘Not even Fanta?’ shrieked DS2 in horror.
When DH relayed this story to me, all I could think was that if DS2 thinks Fanta is alcohol, I dread to think what he tells his teacher and friends he is allowed to have as a treat sometimes!
This incident reminded me of a conversation I had with a mum from school. DD and her DD are good buddies. My DD is Christian and her buddy (‘B’) is Muslim. DD often takes ham sandwiches to school. She often mentioned B was very keen on ‘snack swaps’, usually targetting the pork content of her sarnies! DD, not aware that B should not be eating pork products, was happy to oblige, especially if she thought there was a hint of something sweet involved in the trade!
At a playdate I got talking to B’s mum and somehow the subject of pork came up. She laughed as she told me how much B loves pork and how tricky it can be to get kids at that age to understand what they can and cannot eat, especially if it is disguised in sweet treats.
The wheels in my mind began turning and I wondered if I should tell her that B always asks if she can have DD’s ham which DD willingly hands over! But as she continued, it became clear that she was aware of B’s ‘wayward’ taste buds.
Recently B’s mum had received gifts which included sweets which had some form of pork product in them. Not wishing to throw them out, she hid them high up in a kitchen cupboard. The little monkey that B is, found them and began eating them. B’s mum caught her in the act and began telling her off, explaining ‘you cannot eat anything that has pork in it; it is against your religion’.
‘But mummy, I love piggies’ was B’s response.
Even B’s mum couldn’t contain her giggles.